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Intern loses shoes, gains experience

Journalism student Jeanelle Thompson says her internship experience prepared her for a career in reporting – and how to get a story even when your shoes go missing.

October 5, 2016

Meghanne Shipe

Jeanelle Thompson always gets her story.

Case in point: the day the Vail Daily intern realized that no one had gotten a photo of the town’s biggest lacrosse tournament. The photos were slated for the front page.

“Jeanelle talked the circulation director out of the keys to a company truck and hot-footed it to the tournament,” recalled Randy Wyrick, staff writer at the Daily and Thompson’s internship supervisor.

When she arrived on site, Thompson realized her dress clothes and black pumps – perfect for the usual courtroom reporting – weren’t well-suited for the lacrosse field.

“I was running around, kicking off my heels and taking photos,” she said. “After I got all the pictures and interviews, I saw that my shoes were missing! I was horrified to go back to work with no shoes.”

Thompson stopped at a local consignment shop to buy a new pair on the way, and still made it to the office in time to file the photos and cutlines ahead of deadline.

“The photos were great, too,” said Wyrick. “I’ve had interns for decades from several colleges and universities, but she’s my favorite.”

A convergent journalism major with a minor in theatre, Thompson was happy to get the internship in the first place. As a wife and mother of three residing in Eagle, Colorado, some 150 miles from campus, Thompson was worried the distance would make it impossible to fulfill the internship requirement for her degree.

“All of the listed internship opportunities were closer to the city, not the mountains. It was amazing that MSU Denver worked with me to make this happen. It changed my whole summer. I didn’t even miss any of my kid’s soccer games.”

Thompson has become a master at balancing life as a mother and dedicated student. The last two semesters she’s applied for an exemption to take more credits than is typically allowed. As a result, she’ll graduate a semester early this December.

“I came to MSU Denver to collect as many skills as fast as I could. I’m roaring and ready to hit the reporting field!

“I think I will look back on my internship as the beginning of the best part of my adult life. Not as a mom, but as me personally. I’ve always only been a mom. Now I get to be me, and that all started with this opportunity.”

Her internship supervisor sees a bright future for his all-star intern.

“She’s going to be one of the good ones,” said Wyrick in an email to MSU Denver’s Internship Program. “And if you’d be so kind, please remind me that, along with our eternal gratitude, the Vail Daily owes Jeanelle Thompson a pair of black pumps.”